How West African Largest Nigerian Ruling Party Splits

After a long-drawn internal crisis, Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday split into two factions, as disgruntled members of the party formed what they called a ‘new PDP’.

SavidNews gathered that for maximum effect, the formation of the ‘new PDP’ was announced on the same day that the PDP was holding a national convention in the capital city of Abuja to elect officers to fill 17 vacant positions in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

PDP members who are behind the ‘new PDP’ had earlier walked out of the convention, which is holding at the spacious Eagle Square in the nation’s capital, amid pomp and pageantry.

Among the PDP members who broke ranks with the ruling party are seven of the party’s 23 state governors (out of the country’s 36), as well as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was announced as the leader of the party, former acting National Chairman of the PDP Kawu Baraje, who was announced as the chairman, and former National Secretary of the PDP Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

The seven governors include six from the north – Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) – as well as Rotimi Amaechi, governor of the oil-rich southern Rivers state, who has been having a running battle with President Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking on the new party, Mr. Baraje said the formation was the desire and wish of the people.

For his part, Abubakar said the PDP broke into two because “a party we conceived in 1998 to be a rallying point for all Nigerians, to be a source of unity, to be a party that would fulfill the aspirations of Nigerians, has today been dragged down by people who don’t even understand what party politics is.”

Political analysts said the splinter group of the PDP is behind the formation of a new political party, Voice of the People, which is seeking registration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

They said the split is a big blow to the PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections, especially coming soon after the registration of a new mega opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), which is widely expected to give the ruling party a run for its money in 2015.

The PDP, which has produced the president and controlled the bicameral federal legislature since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, has been engulfed in crisis in recent times, with many members suspended and others facing total expulsion.